A sad day in the Austin food community.

Jill Lewis, who founded Austin Slow Burn with her husband, Kevin, passed away yesterday after a bout with esophageal cancer.

On Sunday, Walt Powell, the VP of Operations at HomeField Grill and Flix Brewhouse in Round Rock, died of apparently natural causes. Statesman writer Patrick Beach wrote this memorial on Liquid Austin for Powell, who had become a friend over the years.

I didn’t know Jill well enough to call her a friend, but we’d corresponded over the years about her trailblazing company and I got a sense of the fiery, hard-working woman profiled in this 2004 story in the Austin Chronicle. In 2010, she and Kevin didn’t hesitate for even a second when I asked them to come to the Statesman for a Hatch chile taste test, which they passed with flying colors. (You can click here to watch the video.)

Jill was a member of the Austin chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, which has set up a fundraising page to help offset some of her medical expenses.